Abstract：The development of contiguous destitute areas and the pro-poor growth effects of economy are the hot topics of regional economics in recent years, but there are few studies on the pro-poor properties of economic growth in contiguous destitute areas. As the pilot area of China's contiguous destitute areas' development and poverty alleviation strategy, Wuling Mountain Area is a typical research case. Taking it as an example, this paper analyzed the spatial differences in the pro-poor properties of economic growth, and the evolution of spatial differences in this region as well as the effect of the differences in the pro-poor properties on the spatial differences in the last 12 years.
According to this research, three conclusions can be drawn as follows. Firstly, there were obvious differences among subareas of Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan and Hubei, while economic growth in the whole Wuling Mountain Area was pro-poor. Especially, Chongqing and Guizhou presented pro-poor growth, then, Hunan and Hubei manifested as trickle-down growth and balanced growth, respectively. Similarly, the annual poverty growth curves differed greatly. There were 6 years of pro-poor economic growth in 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005 and 2007-2010, whereas other years, such as 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2010-2011, witnessed a trickle-down growth.
Secondly, the evolutionary trend of regional disparity in Wuling Mountain Area rose up from 2000 to 2007 and then declined gradually. The largest contribution to the disparity was the internal inequalities in these four subareas, which accounted for 44.3% averagely and rose up over time. The inter-subarea disparity was also important, which made up to 36.94%, and its evolution presented an irregular W shape. Among the four subareas, Hunan had the biggest regional disparity, with the largest Gini coefficient in the whole region, which was almost twice that of Chongqing and Hubei, and Guizhou ranked second in these subareas.
Thirdly, there was obvious relationship between pro-poor properties of economic growth and the evolution of spatial differences in Wuling Mountain Area. During the pro-poor growth years, due to the poor's income growth was quicker than the others', the Gini coefficient, proxy index of regional disparity, declined with probabilities of 67.67%, 75%, 80%, 100% and 67.67% for the whole region, Hunan, Hubei, Chongqing and Guizhou, respectively. The reason is that the slopes of pro-poor growth curves were not steep enough, namely the propoor effects were not strong enough and slowed down the Gini coefficients decline.
Based on the positive analysis, this paper finally proposed some suggestions for Wuling Mountain Area and its four subareas so as to promote pro-poor effect of economic growth and optimize spatial pattern respectively.
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